ID generator

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A stab at a version of Twitter Snowflake but in PHP with a simple ZeroMQ interface (rather than Thrift).

This is a serous rewrite of It organizes the code in modules and adds several interfaces, allowing easier extension of other server mechanisms.


This project was motivated by personal curiosity and also my inability to get Twitter's project to build.

The implementation copies Twitter - generating 64 bit IDs.

  • time - 41 bits
  • configured machine ID - 10 bits
  • sequence number - 12 bits

Has a custom epoch that means it can generate IDs until 2081-09-06 (not the same epoch as Snowflake).

ZooKeeper for config coordination

We use ZooKeeper to store which machine IDs are in use. When a new node starts up for the first time it must be able to contact the ZooKeeper cluster and create a new node. It will look at all the existing nodes and then (if it can't find its own Mac Address) attempt to claim a free one.

I was using Ephemeral nodes for this - similar(ish) to a lock pattern but this had the issue that the node needed to remain connected to ZK throughout its lifetime -- this way it doesn't.

The downside is that potentially the 1024 possible machine IDs will "fill up" and need to be manually pruned.


Installation via composer:

        "require": {
            "gendoria/cruftflake": "*"

There are several example scripts provided for playing about with. Both require previous composer update.

  1. The generator (the server)

  2. A client, that will generate N IDs and dump to STDOUT

    ./examples/client.php -n 100
  3. A client, that will ask server for generator status


For client examples to work, server example has to be be running.


  • ZeroMQ
  • ZooKeeper (if you want to use centralized configuration)

Composer requires php-zmq module installed, but currently does not require zookeper.